Original Research

Leadership contingencies in the retention of women in higher education

Mariette Coetzee, Maryam Moosa
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 18 | a1326 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v18i0.1326 | © 2020 Mariette Coetzee, Maryam Moosa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 February 2020 | Published: 12 November 2020

About the author(s)

Mariette Coetzee, Department of Human Resource Management, School of Management Sciences, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Maryam Moosa, Department of Human Resource Management, School of Management Sciences, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: Providing leadership opportunities and eliminating barriers to advance to or remain in leadership positions may influence the retention of women at academic institutions.

Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of leadership contingencies on the retention of women.

Motivation for the study: Women could be better equipped to succeed in leadership roles if more is known about the challenges they face to advance to or remain in leadership positions and how these challenges should be managed to ensure their retention.

Research approach/design and method: A quantitative research approach was followed in this study and a questionnaire was used to collect data. A non-probability simple random sample of 2000 female employees from an academic institution in South Africa was drawn and a total of 311 questionnaires were completed, with a response rate 15.6%. Principal axis factor analysis with a Varimax rotation extracted six leadership contingency factors.

Main findings: The factor analysis identified six leadership contingencies that play a significant role in the retention of women in leadership positions: barriers to advancement, capabilities of women, acceptance of women as leaders, work–life balance, advancement opportunities and success beliefs. All of these factors were significantly related to retention factors, such as the fulfilment of unique needs, growth opportunities, recognition, pleasant work conditions, sound relationships and support.

Practical/managerial implications: This study contributes to a better understanding of the complexity in the career progression and retention of women in leadership positions.

Contribution/value-add: An understanding of challenges faced by women in leadership positions would enable organisations to implement retention strategies and allow institutions to capitalise on the value women could add to the management of academic institutions.


Keywords

retention; barriers to advancement; capabilities of women; work–life balance; advancement; success beliefs; leadership opportunities

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